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Samuel Beckett's How It IsPhilosophy in Translation$
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Anthony Cordingley

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474440608

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440608.001.0001

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Mystic Paths, Inward Turns

Mystic Paths, Inward Turns

(p.138) 5 Mystic Paths, Inward Turns
Samuel Beckett's How It Is

Anthony Cordingley

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter expands upon the Christian themes introduced in the previous chapter. It identifies intertextual discourse with the Psalms, Early Church Fathers, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine and certain neo-Platonists. It explores the importance of desert mysticism and notions of ascesis within the novel, and links this with multiple allusions to the inward turn or practised indifference of seventeenth-century Rationalists, notably Malebranche and Geulincx, and Quietists such as Fénelon, or the philosophy of Spinoza. How It Is is then argued to be Beckett’s most sustained engagement with Geulingian ethics. When Beckett draws on mysticism, Rationalism, Occasionalism and the conceptualisation of freewill in each, he is shown to thematize artistic originality and the agency of narrative voice, its relationship to the authorial voice.

Keywords:   Mysticism, Asceticism, Early Church Fathers, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, Neo-Platonism, Malebranche, François Fénelon, Spinoza, Geulincx

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